Kona hospital reports first COVID-19 death

  • Kona Community Hospital. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today file photo)

A woman in her 40s is West Hawaii’s first coronavirus-related death, a hospital spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

The woman, identified only as a resident, died Monday while being admitted at Kona Community Hospital after arriving in the emergency department, according to Judy Donovan. Additional details were not immediately available.

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“Everyone was wearing the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) at the time, and we have rooms that are not quite negative air pressure rooms but they are as safe as we can make them,” Donovan said, “so, no we’re not concerned (about potential exposure of others) at this point.”

Donovan said the 94-bed Kona Community Hospital had four COVID-19 patients admitted at the facility. Two are occupying beds in the nine-bed intensive care unit and requiring use of two of the facility’s 13 ventilators. The other two patients, who did not require ventilators, were being cared for in the Med-Surg unit.

Monday’s death, which Donovan said was confirmed by a pathologist to be coronavirus-related and has been reported to the state Department of Health, brings the total number of COVID-19 fatalities on the Big Island to 36.

That figure includes the death at the Kona hospital as well as a fatality Thursday at Hilo Medical Center, bringing that facility’s death toll total to six. Another 27 residents of the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home and two from Life Care Center have died from the virus.

Though Hawaii Island has recorded 36 coronavirus-related deaths to date, the state Department of Health has only confirmed 15 deaths on the island.

As of noon Monday, the state Department of Health had confirmed 164 coronavirus-related among Hawaii residents, including one new fatality Thursday among an Oahu resident. The tally includes 136 deaths on Oahu, 15 on Hawaii Island, 12 on Maui and one death among a Kauai resident outside the state.

Meanwhile, Hawaii Island’s COVID-19 case count increased by 14 Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to 866 since Feb. 28.

The new cases were among 101 new positive results announced by the Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center bringing the statewide tally to 13,146.

As of noon Thursday, 2,542 of those known cases were considered active, including 203 cases on Hawaii Island. An active case is defined as an individual who has tested positive for the coronavirus and is being monitored by the Department of Health.

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According to the Department of Health, 117 cases have onset dates within 28 days in the Kailua-Kona area and 97 cases have onset dates within the past 28 days in the Hilo area. The figure for the Kailua-Kona area increased by 10 between Wednesday and Thursday.

Statewide, 900 COVID-19 patients have required hospitalization, including 47 on Hawaii Island, according to the center’s noon update.

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